RFID technology’s time may finally be coming if implementers can learn to look beyond its current characterization as a product ID-code system, according to a new Gartner report. Findings from “Market Share and Forecast: Radio Frequency Identification, Worldwide, 2004-2010″. According to the report, worldwide RFID spending for 2005 is likely to reach $504 million, a 39 percent increase from the previous year. Accelerating adoption will lead to new license revenue of $751 million by the end of 2006, with worldwide spending topping $3 billion by 2010.
“One of the biggest tragedies of RFID was that when it was introduced it was called the next barcode,” says Jeff Woods, a Gartner research vice president and author of the report. “People looked at where barcodes were being used and tried to supercharge those processes with RFID. It turns out that replacing barcodes is actually one of the hardest processes for RFID to make a successful business case.” This is because barcodes are extremely cost-effective and easy to grasp when implemented as inventory identifiers in structured settings like warehouses, while the true benefit of RFID–real-time tracking of movable assets in chaotic environments–is largely wasted in those cases.
Woods identifies the settings where RFID is best deployed as those where it’s important to be able to locate an asset quickly, easily, and accurately, regardless of whether it is in sight. “The trend we’ve seen in business cases is that there are two characteristics that make great implementations,” Woods says. “These are mobile asset tracking and business processes for chaotic environments.” One example is a hospital ER, “where it’s easy to lose track of a wheelchair or an IV pump,” he says. The FDA also has found a place for RFID in fighting counterfeiters and black marketers, and the DOD has been a major driver of RFID technology adoption for logistics and asset tracking. Full Article Here